Monday, March 23, 2015

What Next for Winnipeg's Old Target In Southdale?

Southdale Target Winnipeg Closed
The first of the Targets closed in Winnipeg at the Southdale location on Lakewood. The site had been a former Zellers and now it is being cleared of anything not nailed down. The option of what goes in the location seem to vary.

The stores unlikely to locate there are Canadian Tire or Giant Tiger which already have locations just down the street. Also in the area is a Shopper's Drug Mart. The thought of a grocery store as well seems limited with a Co-Op right next door.

The word is that Goodlife Fitness might be interested in the location but it might not be the entire store footprint which is around 100,000 square feet. This might actually be a good use if people examine how busy the Regent and Kenaston locations of Goodlife are.

There is a Pizza Hut in the corner of the lot and a McDonald's on the other corner. A Shell station and other retail borders the Target. It is unlikely the entire site will merit a re-design so the Target location itself will be what is changed.

Southdale Centre is an important commercial district but it is not a mall or a power center and the number of retailers who might be interested in the site will be small.

In the month of May all of the Targets will be closed and it will be a battle between landlords to fill spaces. In some cases that won't be difficult. In other cases, it will not be easy at all. Locations like Polo Park are probably not going to have a problem getting tenants. Southdale will have to think outside the box.

Two years ago the retail sector was on the upswing and the Canadian economy looked good. A downturn in oil revenues and consumers pulling in their spending and we see Target running back across the border. How fast the Target landlords find new tenants will be an indication how resilient the Canadian economy is.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Greg Selinger - Return of the King

I can't be the only one confused about the NDP leadership convention. In my mind an actual leadership race should take place only when the position is open or being held by an interim leader not running or campaigning for any party. It's simply really. Anything else is an unfair advantage.

It is shocking that any challengers agreed to the terms that Greg Selinger and his supporters placed on the leadership race. The wearing of two hats in the leadership race of premier and leadership candidate continued the confusion and cemented the advantage of the man who seemed to have all the cards in the game.

It gets worse though. The unique aspects of select delegates for unions meant that slots would be reserved for people the union chose to fill them. Once again the strongest advantage lay with the man who remained as active premier of the province.

In the end, two candidates emerged to run for the leadership despite everything being gamed against them. Steve Ashton possibly thought he could simply overwhelm the odds against him by selling even more memberships and having a few unions support him.  It would simply not be enough against even larger Winnipeg unions. Theresa Oswald entered the race thinking that there was possibly enough opposition that would congregate around her to win the leadership if it came down to two people.

The raw anger at the dissidents was a defining characteristic of Selinger's support. The feeling was that the outspoken MLAs were damaging the brand and that their tactics were odious and against democratic principles. The truth obviously was and is a little more fuzzy.

When Sunday was all said and done, Greg Selinger was affirmed as leader and Premier by the thinnest of margins. The purge began the very next day as staffers were let go. The outcomes for the six MLAs outside caucus remains undecided. But here is one fact: If all the MLAs resign immediately, we could be having an election right now.

The NDP would probably like nothing better than to hide for the next year and have people forget these last weeks but that is just not in the cards. A budget is required and work is required across a spectrum of ministries. And somehow the party has to come together.

Nothing is impossible but the NDP party did not come of the leadership race unified and motivated to fight an election.

It is often said governments defeat themselves. If this is not an example of that, I don't know what is.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Outlets of Seasons

Outlets of Seasons well under construction
Key to map above
The construction across from the Seasons of Tuxedo on the Outlets of Seasons site continues to go on at breakneck speed. So far most of the work is prepping the site for above ground construction but residential components are already three and four floors high and look to be done sometime in the next several months.

Some of the apartment work is adjacent to Outlets of Seasons but should ensure that the area has a population day and night. In and around Polo Park, it can be pretty empty once the stores close.

In the aftermath of so many retailers closing across Canada, it is important to know that many continue to open. Location, location, location is the old axiom in business retailing. As Target found out, the old Zellers locations were not great, their approach to the Canadian market even worse and despite much anticipation and good will, they failed and mightily.

The location at Kenaston and Sterling Lyon should offer a huge advantage to retailers and restaurants. However, it is not a panacea. Just ask River City Sports which is closed in Seasons of Tuxedo. Once IKEA and Cabela's went up, the retailing side stalled and the home improvement center site remains vacant as does the planned addition retailing beside the former River City Sports location.  I have no doubts those areas will fill up but sometimes there is a price that is paid for being the first to be on a site.

So what will be in the Outlets of Seasons site? Well, the developer is still keeping that under wraps but the site outline is revealing. It shows a hotel and two luxury car dealerships facing out to Kenaston. This would seem to be second hotel in the planning phase along Kenaston and the second and third car dealerships. Already down the street Mercedes is building their luxury car dealership to replace their Portage Avenue location.

Also of note are the dozen or so restaurants scattered about the Outlets of Seasons site. To be sure there are a few restaurants across the street at Seasons of Tuxedo but they are lite on sit down casual dining. In short, where are the Earl's, Moxies and Keg's? It is highly likely something new will locate in that area that the city has not seen before. Mayhaps it could be a Milestone's.

The centerpiece to the Outlets of Seasons site is an indoor factory outlet mall. To be sure this is more suitable for our climate. Size-wise, it looks as if 100 stores will be located inside. Outside there will be a mix of smaller and larger retailers. Four are listed as anchors.

In light of the many jobs lost as a result of Target's closing, we can hope that this new mall will add that many jobs and more. Development appears more balanced as it incorporates far more residential than we have seen in decades. It is has already eased a terribly low vacancy rate, created pet friendly rental units and ones where all five appliances and storage is included.

The city needs to continue to push for sidewalk and bike path connectivity to surrounding areas. One missing component could be a grocery store.

Stay tuned for further developments.